Tunisia star Raoua Tlili claims sixth Paralympic gold in dramatic discus final

World records tumble in incredible duel with Morocco's Youssra Karim

Tunisia’s Raoua Tlili picked up her second gold medal of Tokyo 2020, and her sixth overall Paralympic title, in dramatic style in the National Stadium on Wednesday.

A nerve-shredding F41 discus final came down to the last throw as Tlili and Youssra Karim of Morocco pushed each other to shatter Paralympic and world records in their pursuit of victory.

Karim started as the favourite, having set a world record in March.

However, having secured her fifth Paralympic gold in the shot put in the F41 last Friday, Tlili's second throw of 35.58 metres blew away Karim’s mark and set the standard.

Karim, who finished behind Tlili in the World Championships in 2019, knew she had to produce something special and launched her third throw 37.35m, more than two metres longer. The Moroccan was overjoyed and celebrated as the announcement of her record rang out on the tannoy.

It all came down to the sixth and final throws and Tlili saved the best until last with 37.91m, another world record and more than 4.5m further than her own Paralympic best set in 2016.

Karim's last effort veered out of the field and as the judge raised the red flag, overjoyed Tlili collapsed into the arms of her teammates.

“It boosts my confidence. All Tunisians gave me confidence writing (to) me on Facebook and Instagram, ‘Go Raoua, we expect your gold medals’. But I was actually looking for the (world) record because it’s a different taste," said Tlili.

With two Tokyo 2020 gold medals, Tlili now holds a total of six Paralympic titles: one from Beijing 2008 (shot put F40), one from London 2012 (shot put F40) and two from Rio 2016 (shot put F41 and discus F41).

“I am very excited to beat a world record that was previously set by my opponent at the meeting (World Para Athletics Grand Prix) in Tunis during the year. But today I took it back and I am very satisfied of my performance," Tlili said.

As Tlili and Karim went to new distances, their compatriots were battling it out for third. Hayat El Garaa of Morocco clinched the bronze with her fourth throw, beating Tunisia’s Fathia Amaimia, the bronze-medallist in Rio, into fourth place by just 26cm.

Updated: September 1st 2021, 9:04 AM
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